Friday, September 20, 2013

Thinking about our life


The summer is ending and I am back at work and living with a schedule. This might help me to do some regular writing. The letter of Dad's that I posted from Oct. 1944 is about thinking about life. I like his statement: "I wonder if in a way we don’t sort of make up our minds as to what we are supposed to do and then spend our life proving that we are right or wrong."
   I do not think that I figured out I was supposed to spend my life doing. I am now thinking about what to do now that I am in semi-retirement. I am now following the blogs of a few friends and am interested in what makes an easy to read and interesting blog.
  We have had a month of rain and rain and rain. So much that us desert creatures are actually getting a bit tired of clouds and rain. The weather is cooler and we are using our bicycles and scooter more and attempting to use the car less.
My dance with the IRS has gotten a bit of attention and can be read about on another blog: http://www.forbes.com/search/?q=Irs+eases+up+on+war+tax+resisters

October 13 1944


10/13/44

Dear folks,

            Another week is gone. Sometimes I am impressed with the way time gets by. I’m afraid that this letter isn’t going to amount to much. We havn’t had any more fires or much of any excitement. I find lots of things to do to keep my interested in life. I think that I mentioned the group that was discussing the use of time. Well, we are still discussing. It seems very interesting to me and I think that I am learning a lot about myself and human nature too.

            It soaked through me the other day that even though I thought that I had been thinking I was just scratching the surface. I began to realize how many thinks I did that I wasn’t sure why I did them. I seemed to feel that they were right but I didn’t know why. Now, I wonder how sure we can be that these things are right. I think that the biggest thing to think through is the direction in which our life is going. What do we want to do with this world we have and this mind we have to work with? I think that once we have a workable idea of what we are doing on this earth and what we can do with the immediate situation. I wonder if in a way we don’t sort of make up our minds as to what we are supposed to do and then spend our life proving that we are right or wrong. It seems to me that we could plan something more efficient than that.

            Thanks lots for the dough. Thanks to Mom for the Cookies. I have had them for several days and they certainly are good. Those top ones really stood that trip well. They are the best for shipping. However the rest tasted equally as good. The boys all like them.

            It is good to know that Eileen is feeling more her old self, She is probably back to school by now.

            Well I seem to be written out this time. I got a good letter from Evelyn which I was glad to get. I ansered it a couple of days ago. She seems to be doing much better.

                                                Yours with love
                                                            Bernand

P.S. The Klocksiem (?) deal don’t look bad if you can get the machinery.

Posted in envelope with “Build Friendships not Warships for National Defense” on the front and “The world has tried war with force and has utterly failed. The only hope of success lies in peace with justice. –President Calvin Coolidge, Cambridge, Mass., July 3, 1925. (500 of these envelopes for $1.60, postage paid, Mrs. C. W. Johnson, 38 Tyler St., Springfield, Mass.)” on the back

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Humbly winning an argument

Since I wrote quite a bit about my frivolous filing penalty with the IRS I thought I would share the end of the story. I thought it had ended in August of 2012 when I agreed to pay a $500 penalty instead of the $5000 penalty. I was blue about this but did feel that it was the best decision considering the situation. It turned out that the 500 dollars had already been taken along with an extra $200 from our daughter's college fund. So the IRS owed me $200 and I kept looking in the mailbox for it and Tim kept laughing.

I finally quit looking for that check and then in December of 2012 I get a call from one of the people I had spoken with at the IRS suggesting that I file a form 843 asking for a refund and abatement of the penalty. I did so and sent it off to Ogden Utah. Then in January I get a call from a tax advocate who has been assigned to my case who will call occasionally to tell me what is happening in terms of the maze of the IRS offices and where my paper is at. She says it is a long shot that I will get the refund and it could take a couple of years. When she checks in with me in April her tone has changed and she says it has gone to the Chief Counsels office in DC and that she is optimistic of my getting the refund. Then in May we come home the day before I head off to the Friends Peace Team meeting in St. Louis and there is a message on our answering machine that says; 'the IRS has agreed to drop the penalty, a check will be in the mail this Friday'. Wow, Woah, woot woot! Whatever else one can say. I got two checks one for the $200 and one last week for the $500 both + interest.

Then from the National War Tax Resisters Coordinating Committee came a memo saying based on my case a notice is going out to IRS workers that if a tax payer fills out a form correctly and adds in a letter of conscience the frivolous filing penalty does not apply. When I began to appeal the penalty I was reading about 'joyfully loosing an argument'. Now I find I need to work on 'humbly winning one'.

October 5th 1944

 
10/5/44

Dear Family,

            Just got your last letter today, thought I had better get back on the old schedule again so would answer youn’s a letter. I don’t know how much will come out, I may have to switch into double spacing to fill the page up.

            For lack of something more exciting I might mention some of the junk I have been thinking lately. I picked prunes on Mon. Tue., and Wed. this week and I found that I could make the time pass a lot more enjoyably by turning something in particular over in my mind. I mentioned the group that is meeting before breakfast and discussing problems I guess I told you we were starting out on the problem of how we use our time. We all have about three or four times as much that we would like to do as we get done. We feel that most all of these things are important and are a little dissatisfied if we don’t get some of them done. So I got to wondering why I did the things I did do. It seemed to me that there are a number of things that I do because I thoroughly enjoy doing them, like talking to people, reading, making things in the shop and the like. Then there are things that I do that I don’t enjoy in themselves to much as the other things. Like doing project work in the shop, picking prunes, making my bed, shaving, etc. Now the fact is I do all these thing quite willingly. Both kinds and in their rightful time and proportions, but some of them I enjoy more than others. I would rather work on my own wood-working projects than one fore the O&C. I would rather work on an O&C project that I can do in the shop than one that I have to do out in the rain or than picking prunes. Why is it? Why do I do it anyway? The thing that I think happens is that I realize certain compensation factors that balance up so that I feel that the lack in original enjoyment in made up. For instance when I go prune picking the compensatine factors probably are 1. -8 The farmer needs help to get his crop in. 2. -8 Some one from the camp has to do it and I am better suited to do it than some of the others. 3. -?-9 I can do some thinking while working at a mechanical job that I can’t do while working in the shop. 4. -8 I get a certain thrill out of seeing how many bushel of prunes I can pick up. Now, in contrast to this day’s work is a day spent in the shop working for the O&C. I think that the reasons I enjoy working would be: 1. -8 building things is interesting because it satisfies the urge in me to create things, new things with my hands and head, something that I build. 2. -8 I am making a small contribution to a biger project that does have national importance. (how ever I don’t think that it is very nearly the most important work we could be doing, but that is off the subject). 3. -4+5 This job gives me a chance to learn more about an occupation which I really enjoy doing and that may turn out to be a part of my future living. 4. -4+8+9 It gives me a chance to practice and learn better work habits, habits of doing a thoroughly good job no matter how much time it takes.

            Now, I was able to tie these though up with a previous theory of mine and number of other peoples too. That is: that people do things because they satisfy some one of a number of basic fundimental human needs. About the best list of these things is one I found in Dale Cannage’s How To Win Friends and stuff. As follows

                                                                                                            (this is my own too)
            1. Health and preaservation of life                                    9. Desire to improve oneself
            2. Food
            3. Sleep
            4. Money and the things money can buy
            5. Life in the hearafter (I add-Security)
            6. Sexual gratification
            7. The well-being of our children
            8. A feeling of importance.

I guess you have read that guy’s book. He goes big on the 8th one about a feeling of importance. I intend to do some thinking and reading on these things and maybe make a little different line up of them. I don’t know as I go so much for a life hearafter. I might substitute something about security of some kind. That hearafter deal means a lot to many people but it seems to me that it meets the need of security that they may not feel with earthly things so they have to feel thay are secure in having something after this life.

            Well, I’d like to tie up these things with my analysis of why I work. I’ll do it by number to save time and space.

            Well, what do you think of my analysis? It is interesting how much I do for the feeling of importance. Also the things that I enjoy doing more contribute more towards making money and self-improvement. I havn’t though through that list of findimental needs very much, I may find that some of those could go together.  Maybe that one of self improvement belongs to something else. Another thing is interesting about it. If I compare time spent as I like to spend it such as my free time I find that I do more creative things and self-improvement things. I also spend quite abit of time helping other fellows make things. It seems to me that helping others is one of the most satisfying things I do. The question I have is how the best way to help is, should I help them to do what they want to do or to help them to satisfy those basic fundimental needs. Well I have lots of questions that I’ll probably spend my life trying to find the answer to.

            How do you like this sort of letter once in a while? It has helped me organize my thinking to write it to you so you could understand it. If you have any questions, fire them.

            Yes, I want an absentee ballot whenever they can be had and, Dad, I’d like your advice on who are good men to vote for in State and county offices.

                                                Yours for another week

                                                            Bernard

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

October 1, 1944


10/1/44

Dear home folks,

   My letter is a little late this week due to several rather injoyable happenings and interesting ones too. To begin with. last Wed. they needed some more men to pick prunes that they could find without taking someone off a regular job so they asked me if I had any scrupples against picking on project time and the money going to the Gov’t. I couldn’t think of any so I went prune picking. I would have rather worked in the shop but some one had to pick the prunes. I enjoyed thi work for a change. I don’t get as much exercise as I like in here anyway. Well, that is just the beginning. About a half hour before quitting time a fellow from the camp came over to the farm weree we were working and told us that we had a fire call from Calif. and that they were sending a bus down from Eugene to take us. We didn’t mind leaving the prunes. That was Wed. Well, off we went to the fire in a Greyhound bus. We rode from about 7:00 pm to 2:00 am. The place where the fire was about 20 miles or so across the Calif line. About 12 miles from the coast. It is in the Syskiyou National forest, so it was a federal deal. That is they paid for the food and the trip.

   Better start a new paragraph on general principals. When we got there we found 48 men from a CPS camp about 150 miles north of here that had arrived a few minites before us. We all went out to where the fire was an went to bed in sleeping bags that they furnished us. The country was so rough and bushy that we had to literally push the brush aside to find a place to sleep. We got about 4 hours of sleep that night and went out the next morning to build fire trail around the fire. We later found out that it was a 1500 acre fire and that there were 100 other men on the other end of it beside over 100 CPS men on our end. There were 28 of us and about 8:00 am Thur. another bus load of CPS men arrived from another CPS camp about 250 miles from us. They didn’t care about the expense, they were going to get that fire out and fast. The reason they called so many men was that it had started Tue. Afternoon and on Wed it had increases abiut 1000 acres and they didn’t know what it would do next. But luckly the winds changed Wed. might and slowed it down to a walk and the humidity went up a lot so it was a very nice fire to fight. By thurs. night we had all the fire surrounded but ½ mile and it looked so good that they sent us back on Fri. The country was quite steep and there weren’t many roads so all the trail around tha fire had to be made by hand were on other fires they have been about to get a buldosier in to help speed things up a lot. Another thing was that we had to hike 2 miles before we got to were we started work.

   Well, we came back Fri. and as an added attraction the bus we had had a breakdown in Roseburg, about 50 miles from camp and we had to fool around there till they got another bus for us. That made it take us a full day to get back. We got Sat. off to catch up on our sleep and general recuperation. Another guy and I took a notion to hitch hike up to Eugene Sat. afternoon to sort of forget camp for a while and on the way thought of droping in on the Austenrieth family as they had insisted on us doing so at any opertunity. So we did. This fellow, you may have heard me mention him, Bud Beede went to school with Tek and Emily at Barnesville so he knew them and had been wanting to renew his aquaintance. We had a very enjoyable time. Came back by the air ways this afternoon and got into camp in time to eat supper. I feel much more at home with then than with any other of the nice people we have met out here. I guess it is because they are farm people and so genuine.

   Well, I have to pick prunes tomorrow and probably will all week as they need more men. I think this week will finish it up tho.

   I hope that everyone is feeling well and happy. How is toots? She getting her zip back?

   This would be a good letter to wish Dad a happy birthday in. Happy birthday Dad!

               With love

                  Bernard

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pictures

Dad talks about sending pictures and we do have some that we need to scan in. I am trying out new things here so I have included a picture of Tim working on his Tera Trike. We went out biking this last week the day after Thanksgiving we used the new bike path and headed west then took some small roads out to Mesilla for the women's coffee group. Tim hangs out at another coffee shop while I hang out with a group of women. The group started a number of years ago when a woman died who a number of people knew through different associations. Since then some of the women have invited other friends so we do not all know each other outside of the group. One time Tim came when there were only a few of us and we let him sit in on the group but he had to go by the name of Tammy. He just got back from doing the neighborhood route to check his improvements to the bike, and it works well. Now I'll have more trouble keeping up with him. I have thought of creating another blog called 'What's Tim doing now'. This week he also went down to Fort Bliss to witness for a young man in the army who is asking for a conscientious objector discharge. He said the hearing went well. I do like the army's term 'a quickening of conscience'.
Three weeks in a row. I may be back in the routine of writing in the blog.

September 22, 1944


9/22/44

Dear folkes,

            I guess youn’s are getting even with me for not writing to you.

You may be too busy too. Well Anyway I’ll beat out a few lines. I’ll quit the double spacing. I had it shifted and forgot to change it.

            I’m pretty well back to normal after the firefighting and cold and I had after getting back. We havn’t had any real fires since. We had a thunderstorm yesterday and there was an old snag struck with lightening over on the other side of town a couple of miles. Maybe it wasn’t more than a mile. Well some of the boys saw it burning and we were sort of keeping our eyes on it but it seemed to be plenty damp so nothing was done about it till afternoon when the guy that owned the land called up and wanted three of us to come up and help him cut the snag down as the grass was drying off so that it would burn. So a couple of the fellows and I went over. We had a nice little afternoons diversion.

            There are six or eight of trying a new kind of meeting. We are going to meet 4 mornings a week for an hour before breakfast and talk over problems and things that are of interest to all of us. We feel a need to know each other better and also see the value of discussing things to clearify them. The first thing we are going to work on is how we use our time. I have done a little thinking on it this summer and thought I had an idea that helped me get more out of life. I took a survey of what I was doing with my 24 hours of day. It was quite interesting. I didn’t change my schedule much tho as a result. I don’t like to have a schedule to follow it seems too stiff and formal. I like to do things when I’m in the mood to. There are some things that I find it good to set aside time to do them regularly like reading and writing letters. I have been keeping up with my letters better this summer than I ever did before and I have been doing it by getting up before breakfast and writing one every day if I had one to answer.

            You got quite a bit of what I have been thinking about in Evelyn’s letter. I suppose you read it. Did you look at the pictures in it? I think I mentioned one time that the Classmate was going to give us some pictures some time. Well they finally came out and they sent for a lot of coppies which sold for 2 cents a copy. I got several thinking that it was a good cheep way of sending my friends camp pictures. They were taken a little over a year ago while I was out surveying or I might have managed to get me nose in one of them. I have some pictures here that I think I shall send to you if you will send them back as I only have on print of each.

                                                            Yours with love and stuff
                                                                                                Bernard
Attached: Insert from Classmate, August 13, 1944 entitled “Conscientious Objectors”